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A plate of roasted pork on a festive table

8 Pork Recipes for a Budget Handaan

Managing a grocery allowance can be challenging during high inflation. Sticking to a budget, however, forces you to be more creative with your menu planning. So even if you’re skipping lechon this year, you can still wow guests with inexpensive pork recipes during your holiday celebrations.

With so many parties underway, having a handy list of affordable options is a must. Here are easy pork recipes that won't break the bank even if you serve them to large groups. Get your notepad ready and save your picks.

1. Pork Hamonado

A bowl of sweet and savory pork stew with pineapple chunks over white rice

What’s Christmas without ham? But almost every year, the cost of ready-to-eat cured meat goes up. Enjoy similar sweet notes from pineapples and the linamnam of pork via hamonado. Like in everyone’s fave adobo, the flavors of this quick stew intensify as hours pass. Make this ahead to save you on prep work on party day.

2. Nilagang Baboy

A bowl of nilagang baboy with potatoes and pechay on a wooden table

Another handaan-worthy contender that will have guests going for extra servings is pork nilaga. This affordable and fuss-free pork soup pairs well with fried or grilled dishes. It’s also a comforting viand for warming up tummies during the season. Choose inexpensive cuts, like buto-buto and pata, and make it heartier with saba bananas and kalabasa.

3. Lechon Belly Roll

A whole pork belly roll with a few slices on a black slate with fresh herbs

A whole roasted pig is the ultimate holiday splurge. However, don’t force it if your budget is limited. If you don’t want to miss out on that crispy skin and juicy meat, prepare this belly roll recipe. It doesn’t require many ingredients – Knorr Pork Cubes, garlic, and lemongrass will suffice. You can also choose the cooking method that’s easiest for you. Try it turbo-broiled, oven-roasted, or deep-fried.

4. Sinigang na Baboy

A bowl of pork sinigang on a bamboo placemat next to a bunch of onion leaves and red chili

Sinigang is the last thing many would think to serve at a feast. However, no rule says you shouldn’t, especially if you’re expecting balikbayans craving a taste of home. Why not add a nice comforting pork sinigang to your handaan table for the coming holidays? Instead of preparing a run-of-the-mill soup, make it interesting with a fruit base, like watermelon, strawberries, or mangoes.

5. Pork Katsu

Fried pork katsu with a serving of shredded cabbage

Did you know pork chop is one of the most affordable cuts of meat? Take this humble cut and turn it into amazing pork chop recipes. The no-brainer approach is to pan-grill chops à la samgyupsal. Alternatively, treat guests to your version of restaurant-quality pork katsu. Complete your Japanese menu with sushi bake, miso soup, and veggie tempura.

6. Hardinera

Classic hardinera on a white serving plate

Pork embutido is synonymous with Filipino Christmas. The local meat loaf tops the list of inexpensive ground pork recipes. You can take it a step further by switching to the Lucban version – the hardinera. It uses pineapples instead of raisins. The hardinera also does away with foil in favor of reusable llanera molds. How’s that for budget-saving?

7. Lechon Kawali Kare-Kare

A serving of crispy kare kare with a cup of rice, vegetables, and bagoong

Kare-kare is a classic ulam you’ll spot at celebrations. But making the dish is anything but low-cost – traditional recipes call for a laundry list of ingredients. The secret to a budget kare-kare? Use lechon kawali as its main protein! It’s easy on the pocket and quick to prepare. Plus, that gives you two dishes for half the effort.

8. Crispy Tadyang

Crispy pork ribs with fried potato wedges on a wooden serving tray

Despite its leaner meat content, ribs or tadyang is a wallet-friendly choice among pork cuts. Any pork ribs recipe is also a no-fail hit at get-togethers. You can grill it and toss it in a sticky sauce, or you can fry it to make crispy tadyang. Enjoy it as ulam with a spicy vinegar dipping sauce.

From crispy meats to saucy creations, there’s a pork recipe to suit your fancy (and wallet!). Don’t let budget constraints affect the quality of your party fare. Choose your favorites from this list and pack your handaan menu with low-budget heavy hitters.

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